Written by:

Updated on:

August 9, 2016

Radical acceptance can help us move towards mindfulness, awareness, and compassion. Listen to Tara Brach talks about Radical Acceptance.

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Radical acceptance requires us to embrace each moment exactly as it is. Rather than shy away from uncomfortable feelings and sensations, the practice of unconditional acceptance requires a full opening to whatever arises in our consciousness. All stress, all anxiety, all emotions, all grief, and all other challenging human experiences are embraced non-judgmentally and compassionately in this practice; from here, there rests the possibility of transformation.

The Fear of Acceptance

We often, even if only unconsciously, believe that if we accept ourselves as we are – accepting our addictions, our yearnings, and our personal struggles – we will somehow solidify their existence. We fear the idea of acceptance when we misunderstand the purpose it holds in helping us to free ourselves from whatever challenges we face. In this talk on radical acceptance, Tara Brach shares a quote by Carl Rogers that exemplifies his experience with radical acceptance. It reads, “It wasn’t until I accepted myself exactly as I was that I was free to change.” Only when we overcome our fear of accepting ourselves as we are do we illuminate new ways of moving through our struggles.

How does Radical Acceptance Work?

In this talk, Brach invites us to inquire, “What wants attention?” By softening the mind, drawing it down towards the heart, and approaching our experience from a place of loving kindness, we surrender into a moment of pure awareness and acceptance. This requires a willingness to move away from the analytical mind and into both heart and body. As we witness how challenging energies manifest themselves in the physical body, we detach ourselves from stories the mind weaves about our experience. This paves the way for transformation to take place.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]